Newest officer sworn in Monday

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

The Sonora City Council welcomed the latest addition to the city's Police Department at Monday's meeting.

Police Chief Mark Stinson introduced council members to recently hired Officer Matthew Sieperda.

Sieperda was born in California and lived in Fresno and Kerman before moving to Nebraska at the age of 11, Stinson said. He graduated from Chase County High School in Imperial, Neb., a town with a population of 2,071.

"He has the small-town roots behind him, which is something we like to see," Stinson told the council.

Sieperda graduated from Dordt Christian College in Iowa with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a minor in sociology. He met his wife, Lindsey, while in college and traveled abroad to perform volunteer work, Stinson said.

After graduating from college, Sieperda moved back to California and put himself through the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department Regional Training Academy, where he was recognized for having the highest academic scores in his class, Stinson noted.

Sieperda previously worked for the Bakersfield Police Department, where he started in April 2010.

Stinson said Sieperda's prior law enforcement experience is a plus for his department, which has struggled over the past year to fill several vacant officer positions.

"We're very pleased to have someone with Matthew's experience so we can get another officer on the street right away," he said.

Stinson guided Sieperda through the oath of office Monday as Sieperda's wife pinned his badge to his uniform.

Sieperda is the second new Sonora police officer introduced to the council in a month's time.

The council on Sept. 5 welcomed Officer Johnathan Ma, a recent graduate of Napa Valley College Police Academy.

At Monday's meeting, the council also:

• Authorized Mayor Hank Russell to notarize a letter for the Sonora Fire Department submitting them into a national database of fire departments being compiled by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. The database is part of an effort to streamline crisis response in the event of a line-of-duty death.

• Approved resolutions for temporary street closures and parking restrictions related to the annual Sonora High School Homecoming Parade on Oct. 12 and the 29th Christmas Parade on Nov. 23.

The Union Democrat
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